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Increased risk of developing lung cancer after radiotherapy for breast cancer
Date:4/6/2014

Vienna, Austria: Women who have radiotherapy for breast cancer have a small but significantly increased risk of subsequently developing a primary lung tumour, and now research has shown that this risk increases with the amount of radiation absorbed by the tissue.

Dr Trine Grantzau (MD) told the 33rd conference of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO33) in Vienna: "We found that for each Gray [1] delivered to the lung as part of radiotherapy for a breast tumour, the relative risk of developing a subsequent primary lung cancer increased. This increased risk was similar to the reported increased risk of heart disease after radiotherapy for breast cancer.

"Our findings suggest that any reduction in the dose of radiation to the lung would result in a reduction in the risk of radiation-induced subsequent lung cancers. With the advances in breast cancer treatment and the introduction of breast cancer screening, a growing number of women are becoming long-term survivors, and so we need to have an increased awareness of treatment-induced second cancers and take steps to reduce those risks by using radiotherapy techniques that spare normal tissue as much as possible."

Dr Grantzau, a doctor in the department of experimental clinical oncology at Aarhus University Hospital (Aarhus, Denmark), and her colleagues investigated the incidence of second primary lung cancers (i.e. a new lung cancer and not a secondary tumour that has spread from the original breast cancer) in a group of 23,627 women in Denmark who had been treated with post-operative radiotherapy for early breast cancer between 1982 and 2007. Among this large group of women, 151 (0.6%) were diagnosed with a new lung cancer (the group of cases) and they were matched with 443 women who had not developed lung cancer (the control group).

In a previous study including the 23,627 irradiated women and, additionally, 22,549 unirradiated breast cancer patients, resul
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

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